Written December 3, 2013

The world has been advertising in print for over a hundred years; radio for seventy; and television for fifty. Roughly speaking at least. Main stream marketing has been utilizing social media for four years, six if you were really ahead of the game.

So I get it. I understand why 99% of social media marketing sucks. It’s new. Very new. Marketers are approaching social media the same way they’ve approach print, radio and TV. They use it as a form of distribution. Push, push, push. Sell, sell, sell. That is NOT what social media is. Social media is a living, breathing, two-way platform. A constant feedback loop of engagement and conversation.

So what I’ve done, or attempted to do, is highlight just “5 reasons your social media is sucking.” But don’t worry, I’m also going to give you five solutions! These are five actionable items that you can start working on right now.

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Why you do it.

  • It’s easier than generating thoughtful, engaging content.
  • Your boss won’t ask what the hell you’re doing.
  • It takes approximately 5 seconds to post.
    • Rinse, and repeat.

What you should be doing.

  • Develop thought out, engaging content that will start a conversation. Heavy use of (high quality) branded photos, (short) video.
  • Close with a call-to-action (but not always). A simple question. People have huge egos and love to give their opinions on whatever you feel like asking.
  • Sell, push, or ask on a 4:1 to 10:1 ratio depending on the platform. Twitter you can ask more frequently due to a piece of contents short life span. Facebook not so much.

You think everyone cares as much as you.

Why you do it.

  • You have a soap box. You’re the authority. It’s your passion. “Surely people want to hear what I have to say!”

What you should be doing.

  • Your fans spend 100% less time thinking about your brand than you do.
  • You have to give them a reason to care as much as you.
    • What are you working on? How does it effect the community, environment, the world? Can they get involved? Is a charity involved? Can they learn something themselves? Can you create a feedback loop where their voice has an impact on the outcome?
    • Tell your story, don’t preach it.

You only talk about yourself.

Why you do it.

  • You view yourself as the all-being, all-knowing, authority on your subject. Which isn’t all bad…
  • It’s easy.

What you should be doing.

  • Research your audience. What else are they involved in? What overlapping “likes” do you have? Talk about those things.
  • Again, you’re only selling 4:1 to 10:1. Use those other “filler” posts to spark conversation about the world we live in. Get involved in what’s going on with live (social) TV, major sporting events, political events (careful).
  • If you have a largely tech audience for example, ask for your audiences feelings on a new product, their reviews, anything that lets them take part in your community.

Too many cooks in the kitchen.

Why you do it.

  • In larger companies everyone needs to have a hand in the process.
  • Many marketers want to provide content that is valuable to the audience (Good!), but then someone comes along and decides it needs to SELL! (Bad!)
  • Eventually the content is no longer relevant to the audience, but relevant to the person that wants to sell something.

What you should be doing.

  • Get the team on the same page. Bosses, account managers, heads of large corporations very rarely have a grasp on exactly what this social media thing is. Someone who doesn’t get it, can’t micro-manage someone who does or it becomes an exercise in futility.
  • If your lead decides to push market on anything more than a 4:1 ratio, you might as well hook up an RSS feed to your social media networks and just continue to spam the shit out of everyone. No one will be listening anyway, but hey, that “social media stuff” will be done.

No plan.

Why you do it.

  • Social media is new and 99% of people don’t understand the dynamics.
  • With no plan everyone reverts back to the OLD WAY of selling, pushing, distributing, talking about themselves, allowing everyone in the organization to put their stamp of approval on each post. This results in low engagement and everyone saying “Look, social media doesn’t work!”

What you should be doing.

  • Know what you want to be in social media.
  • Have 1 person (who gets it), or a small team dedicated to producing content and don’t let anyone get in the way.
  • Develop content that supports your customers’ needs and your vision.
  • Document a strategy that supports that vision.
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About The Author

Dallas McLaughlin

Dallas is a badged Google Partner, certified in both Google AdWords and Google Analytics. Dallas helps business owners understand how to succeed in a digital first world. Utilizing innovation and unparalleled strategy, Dallas has successfully executed hundreds of search engine optimization, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising campaigns.

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